TO THE FAIREST
Parve, nec inuideo, sine me liber ibis ad illam,
[ p.iii ] [Link to title page & first preface page]
unto your indifferent cen-
[ p.1 ] [Link to first Sonnet page]
Lo here I ope my sorrowes passion,
That ev'rie sillie eye may view most plaine,
A sentence given on no occasion.
If that by chaunce they fall most fortunate,
Within those cruell hands that did enact it,
Say but, alas he was too passionate,
My doome is past, nor can be now unactit.
So mayst thou see I was a spotlesse lover,
And grieve withall that ere thou dealt so sore.
Unto remorse who goes about to move her,
Pursues the winged winds, and tils the shore.
Lovelie is her semblance, hard is her hart,
Wavering is her mind, sure is her dart.
[ p.2 ]
Oh happie houre, and yet unhappie houre,
When first by chaunce I had my goddesse viewed,
Then first I tasted of the sweetest soure,
Wherewith the cup of Cypria is embrewed.
For gazing ferme without suspition,
Love coopt behind the charet of her eye,
Iustly to schoole my bold presumption,
Against my hart did let an arrow flie:
Faire sir, quoth he, to practise have you nought
But to be gazing on devinitie?
Before you part, your leare you shall be tought,
With that attonce he made his arrowes hie:
Imperious God, I did it not to love her,
Ah, stay thy hand, I did it but to prove her.
[ p.3 ]
Prove her ? Ah no, I did it but to love her:
Then shoote amaine, drad liege, I stand unarmed,
Altho no hope that any thing may move her,
Some ease it is to be by beautie charmed.
Then quicke, my liege, th quicke, & end thy game,
That all the world may see how thou hast plagu'd us,
Then cruell she shall vieww unto her blame,
That all men be not fickle as they've term'd us:
May be, my words may winne contrition;
If not my words, my sobs; if not my sobs,
My teares may move her to compassion;
If teares do faile, my tears, my words, my throbs,
Ay me, Ah no, teares, words, throbs all in vaine,
She scornes my dole, and smileth at my paine.
[ p.4 ]
Oh heavenly Cœlia, as faire as vertuous,
The only mirrour of true chastitie,
Have I beene gainst thy godhead impious,
That thus am guerdond for my fealtie?
Have I not shed upon thine yv'rie shrine,
Huge drops of teares with large eruptions?
Have I not offred ev'ning and at prime
My sighs, my Psalms o invocations?
What be mens sighs, but cals of guilefulnesse?
They shew, deare love, true proofs of fermitie
What be your teares, but meere ungratiousnesse?
Teares only plead for our simplicite:
When all strike mute, she saies it is my dutie,
And claimes as much as to her deitie.
[ p.5 ]
Faire Queene of Gnidos come adorn my forehead,
And crowne me with the lawrell emperor,
I'ó thrise sing I'ó about thy Poet,
Loe on my goddesse I am conqueror.
For once by chaunce, not sure, or wittingly,
Upon my foot, her tender foot alighted,
With that she plukt it off full wimbely,
As though the verie touch had her afrighted:
Deere mistresse, will you deale so cruelly,
To prive me of so small a benefit?
What ? do you iert it off so nimbely,
As though in verie sooth a snake had bit it?
Yea bit perhaps indeed: Ho, Muses blab you?
Not a word Pieannets, or I will gag you.
[ p.6 ]
Good God how sencelesse be we paramours,
So proudly on a nothing for to vaunt it?
We cannot reape the meanest of all favours,
But by and by we thinke our sute is grauntit.
Had ye observ'd two planets which then moted,
Two certaine signes of indignation,
Ye would have deemed rather both consented,
To turne all hopes to desperation.
Then can you waver so inconstantly,
To shew first love, and then disdainfulnesse?
First for to bring a dramme of courtesie,
Then mix it with an ounce of scornfulnesse?
No, no, the doubt is answer'd, certainlie
She trod by chaunce, she trod not wittingly.
[ p.7 ]
If it be sin so dearely for to love thee,
Come bind my hands, I am thy prisoner,
Yet if a sparke of pittie may but move thee,
First sit upon the cause commissioner.
The same well heard may wrest incontinent
Two floods from foorth those rocks of adamant
Which streaming downe with force impatient,
May melt the brest of my fierce Rhadamant.
Dearest cruell the cause I see dislikes thee,
On us thy browes thou bends so direfully;
Enioine me pennaunce whatsoever likes thee,
What e're it be I'le take it thankefully.
Yet since for love it is I am thy bondman,
Good Cœlia use me like a Gentleman.
[ p.8 ]
Strike up, my Lute, and ease my heavie cares,
The onely solace to my passions,
Impart unto the aires thy pleasing aires,
More sweet than heavenly consolations.
Rehearse the songs of forlorne amor'us
Driv'ne to despaire by dames tyrannicall,
Of Alpheus losse, of woes of Troilus,
Of Rowlands rage, of Jphis funerall.
Ay me, what warbles yeelds mine instrument?
The bases skrieke, as though they were amis,
The Meanes, no meanes, too fad the meriment,
No, no, the musicke good, but thus it is,
I loath both Meanes, meriment, Diapasons,
So she and I may be but Unisons.
[ p.9 ]
Whilst others weene sole hopes to be a savue,
Sole hopes I find to be my corosives:
Whilst others found in hopes an harbour have,
From hopes I feele a sea of sorrowes rise:
For when mild hopes should ease my raging fires,
They fester more, in that they are but hopes:
Then whilst I touch the port of my desires,
A storme of hate doth burst mine anchor ropes.
Were I but once resolved certainly,
Soon should I know which point my helme to stere,
But she denies my sute most womanly,
As hidden documents for us to heare.
Loe this the cause my hell forsakes me never.
Tell me, (deare sweet) thus shal I live for ever?
[ p.10 ]
To winne the Fort how oft have I assayd,
Wherein the heart of my faire mistresse lies?
What Rammes, what mines, what plots have I not layd?
First from the leads of that proud citadell,
Do foulder forth two fierie culverines,
Undertwo red coates keepe the Larum bell,
For feare of close or open venturings.
Before the gates Scorne, Feare, and Modestie,
Do tosse amaine their pikes, but bove them all
Pudic'itie weilds her staffe most manfullie,
Garded with blocks that keepe me from the wall,
Yet if this staffe will ford me cleare the way,
In spite of all I'le beare my Dame away.
[ p.11 ]
Of all the women which of yore have beene,
Alcest for vertue may be glorify'd,
For courage Teuce, for features Spartaes queene,
For all in one Polyxen' deify'd.
If true it be by old Philosophie,
These soules to have since destin entered,
To other bodies of like simpathie,
Thou art the last of these Metemps' chosed.
Thy courage woonderous, thy vertues peerelesse,
Thy features have the fairest Ladies blamed,
Then if thou scorn'st not such a Monarchesse,
Henceforth by reason good, thou shalt be named,
Nor Teuce, nor Alcest, nor faire Helena,
Thou shalt be nam'd my deare Polyxena.
[ p.12 ]
Cœlia, of all sweet courtesies resolve me,
For wished grace, how must I now be doing,
Since Ops the cõplet'st frame which did absolve thee,
Hath made each parcell to my sole undoing?
Those wires which should thy corps to mine unite,
Be raies to daze us from so neere approch,
Thine eyne which should my nighted sailers light,
Be shot to keepe them off with foule reproch.
Those ruddie plummes embrew'd with heavenly foods,
Wh I would sucke th turne to driest currall,
And when I couch betweene her lillie buds,
They surge like frothie water mounts above all:
Surelie they were all made unto good uses,
But she them all untowardly abuses.
[ p.13 ]
With greeveus thoughts & weighty cares opprest,
One day I went to Venus Fanacle,
Of Cyprian dreames which did me sore molest,
To be resolv'd by certaine oracle,
No sooner was I past the temples gate,
But from the shrine where Venus wont to stand,
I saw a Ladie faire and delicate,
Did beckon to me with her yu'rie hand.
Weening she was the goddesse of the Fane,
With cheerefull lookes I towards bent my pace,
Soone when I came, I found unto my bane,
A Gorgon shadow'd under Venus face,
Whereat afright, when backe I would be gone,
I stood transformed to a speechlesse stone.
[ p.14 ]
When once I saw that no intreats would move her,
All means I sought to be delivered,
Against white Cupid and his golden mother,
In hie contempt base words I uttered;
When both from clouds of her bright firmament,
With heavie griefes and strong disdaine surmounted,
Upon my thoughts and me did shoot reveng'ment,
Whilst in our highest prides we were amounted.
Nor be they pleas'd to give us all these wounds,
To make me languish as a dying liver,
But from her orbes they fling their fiarbronds,
Thereby to quite consume both hart and lyver :
Pardon, drad pow'rs, pardon my rash offence,
By heavens bright vaile, t'was gainst my cõscience.
[ p.15 ]
[ p.16 ]
What may be thought of thine untowardnesse,
That moovest still at everie motion?
What may be hop'd of so strange uncouthnesse,
That scornes all vowes, scornes all devotion?
If I but sue, thou wouldst releeve myne anguish,
Two threatning arcks thou bendest rig'rously;
Then if I sweare thy love doth make me languish,
Thou turn'st away, and smilest scornfully ;
Then if I wish thou would'st not tyrannise,
Of Tyrannie thou makest but a mock'ry,
And if I weepe, my teares thou doost despise,
And if I stir, thou threatenst battery:
Froune on, smile on, mocke me, despise me, threat mee,
All shall not make me leave for to intreat thee.
[ p.17 ]
Relent my deere, yet unkind Cœlia,
At length relent, and give my sorrowes end,
So shall I keepe my long wisht holyday,
And set a trophey on a froward frend,
Nor tributes, nor imposts, nor other duties,
Demaund I will as lawfull conqueror;
Duties, tributes, imposts unto thy beauties,
My selfe will pay, as yeelded servitor.
Then quicke relent, thy selfe doth conquer us :
Brave sir and why, quoth she, must I relent?
Relent, cry'd I, thy selfe doth conquer us,
When eftsoons with my propper instrument,
She cut me off, ay me, and answered,
You cannot conquer and be conquered.
[ p.18 ]
I cannot conquer and be conquered:
Then whole my selfe I yeeld unto thy favor,
Behold my thoughts flote in an ocean battered,
To be cast off, or wafted to thine harbor;
If of the same thou wilt then take acceptance,
Stretch out thy fairest hand as flag of peace,
If not, no longer keepe us in attendance,
But all at once thy firie shafts release.
If thus I die, an honest cause of love,
Will of my fates the rigor mittigate,
Those gratious eyne which will a Tartare move,
Will prove my case the lesse unfortunate,
Altho my friends may rue my chaunce for ay,
It will be said, he dy'de for Cœlia.
[ p.19 ]
It shall be sayd I dy'de for Cœlia;
Then quicke thou grieslie man of Erebus,
Transport me hence unto Proserpina,
To be adiudg'd as wilfull amor'us:
To be hong up within the liquid aire,
For all the sighs which I in vaine have wasted,
To be through Lethes waters clensed faire,
For those darke clouds which have my lookes or'ecasted,
To be condemd to everlasting fire,
Because at Cupids fire I wilfull brent me,
And to be clad for deadly dumps in mire:
Among so manie plagues which shall torment me,
One solace I shall find when I am over,
It will be knowne I dy'de a constant lover.
[ p.20 ]
Receave these writs, my sweet and deerest frend,
The livelie patterns of my livelesse bodie,
Where thou shalt find in Hebon pictures pend,
How I was meeke, but thou extreamlie blodie.
I'le walke forlorne along the willow shades,
Alone complaining of a ruthlesse dame;
Where ere I passe, the rocks, the hilles, the glades,
In pittious yelles shall sound her cruell name,
There I will waile the lot which fortune sent me,
And make my mones unto the savage eares,
The remnant of the daies which nature lent me,
Ile spend them all, conceald, in ceaelesse teares.
Since unkind fates permit me nor t'enioy her,
No more, burst eyes, I meane for to annoy her.
[ p.21 ]
M A D R I G A L L.
When first I heard thy loves to Laya,
Further pages from the 16th & 17th Centuries